Whether you’re an established brand or a start-up, it’s always wise to keep up to date with the latest web design and marketing trends. One big shift in e-commerce in 2016 is towards user-generated content. It’s everywhere. But, is it beneficial for e-commerce? And is it here to stay? Keep reading to find out.

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content (UGC) is content on your website that is produced by unpaid contributors and consumers rather than a business or its employees. UGC can include reviews, photos, tweets and even blogs.

Let’s take reviews as an example. An increasing number of e-commerce stores are featuring customer reviews on their websites to build trust, brand sentiment and even increase traffic. Lush cosmetics is an excellent example. Almost every single one of their products is accompanied by user reviews and ranked out of five stars.

So why include reviews, or any other form of UGC, on your e-commerce site? Here are a few stats worth remembering:

71% of consumers agree that reviews make them more confident in a purchase.

92% of consumers trust recommendations from others (even people they don’t know), over branded content.

86% of millennials say that user-generated content is a reliable indicator of the quality of a brand or service.

Building trust

Reviews provide what’s known as ‘social proof’. This is easing a consumer’s mind using relatability. Basically, including reviews shows potential customers that similar, ‘normal’ people have purchased from a given site or shop. In modern e-commerce, it’s essential. Most online shoppers check reviews before buying anything online.

Social proof is also being extended into advertising. Adverts have become repetitive. Customers easily recognise and dismiss them – ‘of course you’re saying your product is great, you have to’. But including elements of UGC in ads has been shown to be incredibly effective at boosting sales and conversions. UGC makes a brand appear trustworthy, more relatable and consequently more appealing. According to Shopify, UGC-led ads online see 4x higher click-through rates and a 50% larger average order size.

Starting the conversation

Featuring UGC, whether on your social media platforms, website, or both, can help you to build a strong connection with your customers by allowing them to actively participate in your business and be part of your brand. It’s a fantastic way to build relationships, engagement and, most importantly, trust. Best of all, UGC is highly cost effective and virtually effort-free.

Rather than reviews, you might choose to incorporate Q&As instead. How? Your customers submit questions about products, allowing you to answer them publicly. It’s that simple and it’s doubly beneficial because you’ll be building a relationship with a current group of customers whilst adding information for other potential consumers. Essentially your customers are helping you out by prompting you to include information that you didn’t realise was necessary. Other customers may even answer queries for you.

Looking ahead

The influence of customers’ opinions is growing and so too is the importance of a strong business-consumer relationship. Is your e-commerce site making the most of UGC?

Everything e-commerce

To ensure your website provides a great customer experience, you need a top quality digital agency. At Fluid digital we cover everything from web design to Magento e-commerce and digital marketing.

If you would like to find out more, our experienced e-commerce specialists are on hand for any queries you might have. Complete our contact form or call us on 0161 762 4920 for more information.

Posted in Ecommerce on 03rd Aug 2016